- Associated Press - Saturday, September 13, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - A little more than a month ago, Oakland’s lead over the Seattle Mariners was double figures.

After Friday night, the A’s advantage is down to a half-game.

“It’s not ideal,” Oakland outfielder Jonny Gomes said. “The boys are battling. There are 15 games left. We just have to do our best and win more than we lose.”

Robinson Cano, Kendrys Morales and Logan Morrison homered, and the Mariners beat Oakland 4-2 on Friday night to pull within a half-game of the Athletics for the top spot in the AL wild-card chase.

Oakland has seen nearly all of its wild-card lead disappear, going 3-12 over its last 15 games. The A’s task now appears just making the postseason and trying to hold off Kansas City and Seattle, who is tied for the second wild card.

“The way we are playing right now, I don’t think one loss is paramount over another,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We just have to find a way to win some games.”

Cano hit his 13th homer in the first inning and Morrison added his eighth in the fifth inning, both off Jason Hammel (10-11). Morales hit a line drive out to right-center field off Eric O’Flaherty in the sixth.

“Kind of unlucky the way it went tonight,” Hammel said. “Both pitches that left the yard I would throw them again.”

Cano’s homer skimmed the top of the left-field wall and gave Seattle a 1-0 lead. Morrison’s drive curled inside the right-field foul pole, breaking a 2-2 tie. Morrison’s homer came at the same time fireworks erupted across the street at CenturyLink Field when the Seattle Sounders scored in their MLS match with Real Salt Lake.

Seattle also got a bloop RBI double from Mike Zunino that Oakland left fielder Jonny Gomes appeared to lose in the lights.

“I told my guys, this is real simple. This is really playoff baseball,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Averages, slumps, all those things are out the window. What you did against a guy last time really makes no difference.”

Hammel was lifted after the fifth despite throwing just 78 pitches, partly because of issues with Oakland’s batting order. The A’s lost their designated hitter in the bottom of the third inning when Geovany Soto left with back spasms. Derek Norris took over behind the plate but the A’s lost their DH in the move.

Hammel batted in the top of the fourth and reached on a fielder’s choice after an errant throw allowed Nate Freiman to reach second. Freiman later scored on Sam Fuld’s bunt to pull Oakland even at 2-2.

Hammel was lifted for Billy Burns when it was his turn to bat again in the sixth. Burns singled for his first major league hit.


Seattle starter James Paxton (6-2) pitched six innings despite control trouble. Paxton walked three batters in the third inning alone, but struck out eight and three times left runners stranded in scoring position.

“Almost Chris Sale back-to-back nights. Pretty tough” Gomes said after the A’s faced Sale on Thursday.

Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 45th save despite giving up a pair of singles to open the inning. Rodney tied Kazuhiro Sasaki’s franchise record for saves in a season.


Seattle clinched the season series against Oakland with its 10th win over the A’s. The Mariners have won consecutive season series over the A’s for the first time since taking three straight from 2001-03.


Athletics: Oakland closer Sean Doolittle was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list after being out with a strained right intercostal muscle. Melvin said Doolittle’s return should settle the A’s bullpen.

Mariners: OF Dustin Ackley was back in the lineup after missing four games with soreness in his foot and ankle. McClendon said Ackley should be able to make it through the final 17 games.


Athletics: Sonny Gray (13-8) is 1-4 with a 5.32 ERA in seven starts since Aug. 6. He does love pitching in Seattle with a 3-0 record and 0.46 ERA in three starts at Safeco Field.

Mariners: Felix Hernandez (14-5) makes what could be his final home start of the regular season. Hernandez has at least two more road starts and could pitch the final day of the regular season at home or be held for a potential wild-card game. Hernandez is 19-7 in his career against Oakland and 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts this year.



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